Mystery Of 'Ghost Ship' Solved

It had been drifting on the Thames near Charing Cross

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A London lifeboat (RNLI) crew were surprised when they were called to investigate a 'ghost shop' drifting along the River Thames in the city centre.

The boat had been spotted drifting under Charing Cross railway bridge, just after 3pm yesterday (Tuesday 5 March).

The crew arrived to find an empty cabin cruiser in a poor condition with no signs of life aboard.

Keith Cima, Tower RNLI lifeboat station helmsman, said: ‘It’s not often you find an empty boat drifting in the middle of London with no signs of life aboard– it was a bit like finding a ghost ship in the city. We set up a tow and took the empty vessel to a nearby Port of London Authority (PLA) barge where it was securely moored.’

At that point another vessel came alongside the RNLI lifeboat and the mystery of the drifting vessel was solved.

Keith added: ‘The skipper of the vessel that came alongside us explained he had been towing the empty boat up from Brightlingsea when its tow had broken in London, setting it adrift. The skipper was given advice by the RNLI crew on towing, and after a conversation with the PLA by telephone he was allowed to proceed on his way.’ 

The RNLI crew were then stood down and returned to Tower Lifeboat station, which is located next to Waterloo Bridge. There are three lifeboat stations in London, the other two being located at Chiswick and Teddington.

In 2013, the charity’s London lifeboat crews rescued 372 people and saved 25 lives in the city. The RNLI relies on public donations to carry out its lifesaving work in the capital and will be raising funds during London Lifeboat Week between 28 April and 4 May.

Find out how you can support London Lifeboat Week at

March 6, 2014